Saturday, 17 January 2015

Keeper - MMXIV (Review)

Album Type : Demo
Date released: 05/07/2014
Label: Grimoire/Black Plague Records

MMXIV CD//DD//Tape track Listing:

1) Hours Pt 1 (09::57)
2) As it Needs To Be… (08:16)
3) Perception/Prescription (08:20)
4) Admittance (09:13)
5) All it Needs to Be … Pt 2&3 (09:59)

Keeper is:

Jacob Lee | Guitar, Bass, Vox
Penny Keats |Guitar, Drums, Vox 


Hailing from Fresno, California, Keeper are a new breed of blackened sludge, a doom laden black metal hybrid monstrosity. What sets Keeper apart (and has earned them sought after spots on various 2014 end of year lists), is their blend of black and post metal, combined with distorted guitar drones and grating vocals. Keeper create a skin crawling aural experience with their debut ‘MXXIV’, appealing to fans of the punishing sounds of Thou, Indian and The Body.

MXXIV begins with the oozing nihilism of ‘Hours Pt 1’, with slow, sludgy, crunching guitars whilst a raspy voice screeches, “I walk in the shallows...snakes bite at my ankles” on repeat. You can easily imagine that the vocalist is wading through a swamp, in the process of being attacked by snakes, and is really pissed off about it. The track itself weaves through its various parts in a serpentine manner and into ‘As it needs to be’, which is another track seeping with complete resignation, yet with added melodic post-metal atmospherics for good measure.

The third track ‘Perception/Prescription’ typifies the structural diversity that punctuates the entirety of ‘MMXIV’, where the black metal influences of the band are clear, particularly through the distorted introduction which leads ironically into the vocalist shrieking about his “blissful evening on the water…hands clutched at broken teeth”.

‘Admittance’, the penultimate track, is a down tempo, trudging confessional in which the vocalist desperately confesses to taking 150 pills, this track being the nightmarish aftermath.

Breaking from the rest of the album, ‘All it needs to be Pt 2&3’ ends the album with a stripped back sound loaded with fuzzy guitars/vocals and ear-piercing reverb. Reminiscent of The Body, the track challenges the listener to endure the album to its completion via its subhuman shrieking and contorted guitars, giving the entire record an almost otherworldly quality.

Keeper’s debut ‘MMXIV’ blurs the line between the listener’s pain and enjoyment by way of cross-genre diversity. For this reason, Keeper is a key band to watch in 2015, especially with the release of their Sea Bastard split this month.

Words by: Elinor Beckford

FFO: Thou, Indian, The Body, Burning Witch and Dragged into Sunlight.

You can pick up DD for name your price here and CD/Tape here

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